Learning at Home

Edible Finger Paints

What you will need:

  • 2 cups of corn flour
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 4.5 cups of boiling water
  • Liquid or gel food colouring

What to do

  • Mix the corn flour with the cold water and stir together
  • Pour in the boiling water and stir, it will be thick at first but keep stirring as it will melt into custard like consistency.
  • Separate into separate pots and add food colouring or gel.

Tip - if the mixture goes to thin just add 1 cup extra of cornflower.

Taking the activity forward

  • You could add flavouring, to add to the sensory experience e.g. lemon, orange, strawberry
  • You could add texture e.g. oats, cornflakes.

What can children get out of this activity?

Children and babies can use their fingers and tools to mark-making and explore their senses and discovering new textures.

This activity covers knowledge and understanding of the world: following a recipe, mixing and stirring, combining materials and mixing colours.

This activity also develops fine and gross motor skills along with hand eye coordination.  Adults can encourage language by using language of texture, size and colour. Asking open ended questions and commenting on play.



What you need:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 cup of salt

What to do:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan.
  2. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the play dough thickens.
  3. Pour out and kneed in flour until no longer sticky.
  4. Keep the finished play dough in a sealed container; this can last for up to 6 months.

This recipe takes less than 10 minutes

Taking the activity forward

  • You could Add flavour essences to make different scented play dough
  • You could add texture such as glitter and sequins.
  • Add cutters, rollers, fabric, netting, ribbons, match sticks and lolly sticks. By adding these items to tactile play it can be squashed, squeezed, rolled, flattened, chopped, cut, and scored, raked, punctured, poked and shredded! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, and develops hand-eye coordination and concentration.

What can children get out of this activity?
The malleable properties of play dough make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons, children needs to develop fine motor skills ready for, making them ready for pencil and scissor control later on. This activity can also develop concentration, speech and social skills.


Heuristic and Treasure bag

What to do:
During a heuristic play session, toddles are able to explore in their own way, with the materials presented to them. They can make connections while they do this – for example, this shell fits into a plastic pot.
Sensory activities build on young children’s desire to learn through their senses. Through sensory materials, babies and toddlers learn about textures, cause and effect and also learn to be independent. Sensory play also promotes babies and toddlers co-ordination and fine motor development. It helps babies and toddlers to concentrate as well as express themselves through sound and movement.

Activity ideas
Let your child feel all the heuristic items, it is important for your child to independently explore these items.
Your child will fill and empty objects using containers, slot objects together, build or balance objects, sort and classify objects, recognise similarities and differences of objects.

Talk to your child about the items, use words like smooth, bumpy, shiny, hard, soft, talk about the colours of the items.

Use lots of enthusiasm when talking about items, give them lots of praise.

Clean Mud

You will need:

  • 1 – 2 bars of soap (dove and ivory soap work best)
  • Cheese grater
  • Tray or washing up bowl
  • 1 roll of toilet tissue
  • Warm water

What to do:

  • Grate the soap into a tray or mixing bowl
  • Tear up the toilet tissue into small pieces and add them to the tray as you tear
  • Once all the toilet tissue has been added, add small amount of warm water to the mixture, stir as you add.
  • Keep mixing until the mixture is smooth and creamy
  • Enjoy it’s time to play.

Taking the activity forward

  • You can use soap flakes as an alternative to grated soap
  • Add glitter or sequins
  • Add food colouring
  • Add snow animals to create a snowy scene

What can children get out of this activity?
This is a really tactile messy play experience will all of the texture of mud without the brown mess! Children can explore using their senses (its smells great) and use tools and fingers to make marks in the mixture. This activity is also great for stimulating early talk and imaginative play.


Colour Fizz

What you need:

  • water tray or container
  • clear vinegar
  • bicarbonate of soda
  • small pots
  • food colouring
  • spoons

What to do:

  • Fill your container or pots with a vinegar and water solution. You can add food colouring to make the mixtures different colours. The stronger the vinegar solution the bigger the results.
  • Separate the bicarbonate of soda into individual pot.
  • Spoon the bicarbonate into the vinegar water
  • Watch the fizz explosions

Taking the activity forward

  • Reverse the process and pour the vinegar solution onto the bicarbonate soda for a different sort of fizz.
  • If you don’t want to fill a water tray with vinegar then this activity still works really well on a small scale, using a tray or small container.

What can children get out of this activity?
This activity can offer high levels or engagement and excitement as the children are able to create their own mini explosions. It’s good to encourage talk and language for explanation as well as developing the concept of cause and effect. You could explore what it sounds like, what colour it is and what colour it turns into. If you mix the solutions together.